FOX's newest drama, which the network is about to unveil this Wednesday evening, has been through several permutations. It started its life back in the pilot stage known simply as Frankenstein, a modern riff on Mary Shelley's classic horror novel. It was then re-branded The Frankenstein Code to properly reflect the show's contemporary twist; that title was later discarded in favor of the similarly literary-themed Lookinglass. When FOX decided even that was too bookish for its viewers, it went with the decidedly more ambiguous Second Chance. But one thing remained constant for the show throughout all those changes and permutations: its star. But just who is Robert Kazinsky, who plays Ray on Second Chance?
In Second Chance, Kazinsky will play an elderly cop brought back in a younger man's body after he's killed during a robbery. He then partners up with his son — who now looks older than him — and hilarity ensues; or high-octane sci-fi hijinks ensue; or both. But long before he became a modern day Frankenstein, the English actor was a fresh-faced 22-year-old appearing on Season 9 of the popular British football drama (that's soccer to us Yanks) Dream Team. Although Kazinsky's character was killed off at the end of the season, he didn't let that keep him down for long, soon finding a gig on one of England's longest-running soap operas.
Although it hasn't caught on Stateside in the way that other British imports like Downton Abbey or Sherlock have, EastEnders is quite the smash in England, having run for 30 years and 5,208 episodes... and counting. Kazinsky himself appeared on 254 of those episodes from 2006-'09 as the violent and villainous Sean Slater. Eventually, the actor asked to be written out of the soap so he could pursue other projects. Naturally, his character's exit involved a kidnapped baby and a plunge into an icy lake.
Post-EastEnders, Kazinsky began building his Hollywood career, guest starring on the likes of Law & Order: Los Angeles and Brothers & Sisters as well as landing a small role in the George Lucas war drama Red Tails. But his first big American break came when he was cast as the evil vampire/fairy hybrid Warlow on Season 6 of HBO's True Blood. Sadly, things didn't end well for him as his attempt to woo Sookie and turn her into a vampire ended at the business end of a wooden stake.
Right as Kazinsky's stint on True Blood was reaching its midway point, his first major role in a big-budget blockbuster hit screens. In Guillermo Del Toro's monster/robot mashup, the actor played hotshot Jaeger pilot Chuck Hansen, getting to rub shoulders with big film and TV stars like Idris Elba (Thor), Charlie Hunnam (Sons Of Anarchy), and Ron Perlman (also Sons Of Anarchy). Of course, Chuck met his fate when he heroically detonated his Jaeger to kill some of the monstrous Kaiju. I seem to be detecting a Sean Bean-esque pattern to Kazinsky's roles...
Two years later, Kazinsky was back on the big screen in this Reese Witherspoon/Sofía Vergara comedy. He played Randy, the handsome felon who hitches a ride with Officer Cooper and Daniella Riva on their hilariously mismatched road trip. For once, his character was granted a reprieve — he got to live and he got the girl. That's a step up for Kazinsky!
You likely won't recognize Kazinsky in his next feature film role: he'll be providing the motion capture and voice performance for the battle-hardened orc Orgrim Doomhammer in this June's adaptation of the popular video game. Other actors in the movie you may or may not recognize include Dominic Cooper (Agent Carter), Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol), Ben Foster (X-Men: The Last Stand), and Ruth Negga (Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Place your bets now on whether or not Orgrim makes it to the sequel in one piece.
Second Chance premieres this Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.
Images: Justin Stephens/FOX; BBC; HBO; Warner Bros. Pictures (2); Universal Pictures